Tag Archive: D-Star

Aug 01 2012

Ratflector in Kaufman County Texas

Hello folks. Its me again. I am looking to work on a couple of projects out here in the radio wasteland known as Kaufman County. If you are wondering Kaufman county is the county just east of Dallas county here in Texas.

The first one I would like to tackle is getting a Ratflector (D-Star low speed digital repeater/Internet gateway) up and running here. I have worked with the program before and when I was living in Dallas county had a Ratflector up and running. I was the only one on it. So if you are in the Dallas / Fort Worth area or in Kaufman, Rockwall, Henderson, or Van Zandt county get in touch with me and lets see if we can make this thing go. I have always preferred digital to any other mode and I think this is the way to go.

You can contact me on Facebook as KB5JBV or Google+ and Email at kb5jbv@gmail.com

 

Thanks

Richard KB5JBV

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Mar 04 2011

RFC Show Notes Episode 050

00:00 Notice HR-607 has been introduced into Congress which will reallocate most of the 440MHz amateur radio band to Public Safety broadband network. Please read this and take action!
02:04 Song “Dropping Out of School” by Brad Sucks, from the album “Out of It”.
04:20 Introduction In the studio to answer a lot of feedback and start a new series.
04:56 Feedback Corey, KB9JHU, responds to Richard’s call for podcast topics by pointing us to Bryce and Brent Salmi’s website, CollegeARC.com. Thanks, Corey.
06:57 Bill, KA9WKA, sends Richard compliments on the introduction to Ubuntu video on the website. Keep an eye on the Video page for more!
07:49 Ray, KO4RB, expresses his appreciation for the return of Resonant Frequency and looks forward to future episodes.
08:52 Tim, KI6BGE, wonders where the log-in link is on the new website. Sorry, Tim, but the new website does not have a separate user contribution area, so no login is needed. Tim also said he likes the new website.
10:08 Jerry, KD0BIK, of The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast, also writes to say he’s glad Resonant Frequency is back. Thanks, Jerry, and we’re glad you’re back, too!
11:51 Tim, KI6BGE, sent his compliments on Resonant Frequency Video Edition 1, an introduction to Ubuntu Linux for hams. (See the Video link above.)
Tim also commented that he thinks the ads on the website are fine. He says, “If it helps the cause, it’s worth the pause.” Thanks, Tim. Every little bit helps.
14:14 Take a look at the introduction to DX cluster video on the website, too.
15:00 Ted made a donation to the podcast toward server fees. Thanks very much, Ted! If any episode has helped you, it should be worth a dollar, so please click the Donate link on the website.
16:44 We had a few Twitter mentions in response to episode 48. Thanks!
17:47 Bruce, VE2GZI, sends his appreciation for the podcast. Thanks, Bruce.
19:45 Joe, NE3R, left a comment on Richard’s article “So That’s Your Best Argument Against D-Star”. At the moment, his biggest issue with D-Star is a lack of a repeater in his area. He agrees that ham radio and Linux is a good fit.
24:36 Paul, KE5WMA, made a donation to the podcast. Thanks, Paul!
25:05 Tim, KI6BGE, also commented on the D-Star article. He thinks D-Star is just another tool in the ham radio toolbox, and should be used when necessary and appropriate for the task at hand. Good point, Tim.
30:24 Don, WS4E, replied to the D-Star article, saying he’d prefer to use a Yaesu radio, rather than Icom. He also wonders why, if proprietary systems are acceptable, aren’t we using digital APCO 25? Richard discusses.
35:08 Please visit our advertising sponsors by clicking through the Go Daddy and Amazon links on the website. Even better, click the Donate button and help with the operating expenses of the podcast.
39:14 Song “Out of It” by Brad Sucks, from the album “Out of It”.
42:54 Topic We begin a new series on installing ham radios in your vehicle. 

For most new hams, their first project is installing a radio in their car. This can be as simple as a magnet mount antenna on the roof, a hand-held radio and cigarette lighter power adapter.

First, of course, is planning. Decide what bands you wish to use while mobile. If you have a larger vehicle, you probably have the luxury of more space for an HF or HF/VHF/UHF radio.

If you have a small car, you may be limited to a UHF/VHF dual band or a single band radio. You should also consider if it is important to be able to easily remove the radio to move it to another vehicle.

Consider the available mounting locations.

Next, you should evaluate how you will provide power to the radio. If you wish to run a 100W HF rig, you may need an alternator with higher output. In any case, you’ll need a good ground for the system, too.

Generally, the best way to provide power is to run wires directly from the battery to the radio. This will minimize electrical noise from other electronics in the vehicle.

If you have room, you may wish to add a second battery, which will prevent your primary battery from being discharged to the point that it cannot restart the engine. For that, you’ll need a battery isolator.

It’s also a good idea to fuse both the hot and ground leads.

If you do add a second battery, do not place it in the passenger compartment as it can generate hydrogen gas during charging. Make sure, too, the battery is properly ventilated, contained and secured. Optima deep cycle batteries are recommended as they are designed to be discharged further than conventional automotive starting batteries.

1:01:41 Song “Total Breakdown” by Brad Sucks, from the album “Out of It”.
1:03:58 Conclusion Check out the website, make a donation to the podcast, use Go Daddy for your web hosting, and click the Amazon link for your purchases. Send your feedback! 

Email Richard at kb5jbv@gmail.com
Twitter: twitter.com/kb5jbv
Identica: http://identi.ca/kb5jbv
Friendfeed: http://friendfeed.com/kb5jbv
KB5JBV on D-Star via the NT5RN repeater.
Fan pages at Facebook for Resonant Frequency and Linux in the Ham Shack.

1:06:48 Song “Certain Death” by Brad Sucks, from the album “Out of It”.
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Feb 12 2011

RFC Show Notes Episode 049

00:08 Opening Theme “Hand-Picked” by John Williams, from the album “Long Ride Home”
01:01 Introduction This episode recorded while mobile.
01:50 Announcements Note the new website address is http://rfpodcast.info/Podcast. While you’re there, click the Amazon link for your purchases there, as that helps support the podcast.

No feedback this episode as we’re mobile.

02:30 Topic Linux for the Amateur Radio operator.

Richard’s house is primarily Linux-based, not just because it’s free or easier to install, but because it’s more in line with the amateur radio philosophy of being able to tinker with it.

Linux still suffers from the misconception that it’s difficult to install, configure and use. That is no longer the case. Some distributions, Gentoo and Arch, can be a challenge. Others, like Linux Mint, Fedora, and Ubuntu, are very easy to install and use for the Windows user.

If you have an older computer, you’ll likely find that it runs faster with Linux and thus make a good machine to dedicate to your ham radio needs.

Most distributions are available as a live CD that allows you to boot and run from the CD without touching your local hard drive. This allows you to try it out and if it meets your needs, then you can install it to your disk. (Note that running from the live CD will be a bit slower than running from a hard disk.)

There is a lot of “free” ham software available for Windows, and it’s true in the sense that you don’t have to pay for it. However, in Linux, not only is the software free of charge, it’s also free to modify. Technical support is often available through forums or other online services.

A popular way to think of it is this: when you buy a radio, you would expect to see a schematic included and have the freedom to open it up and make changes. Linux is that way, too.

13:52 There are several amateur radio applications available for the Linux user. Most of the time, the software is in the repository for your Linux distribution, so you don’t have to go searching the Internet for them.

You’ll find programs for CW training, tracking satellites, logging contacts, operating digital modes, packet BBS, and rig control.

Probably the most popular program for digital modes is fldigi. It supports all of the popular modes such as PSK, Hellschreiber, Throb, Olivia, and RTTY, as well as logging and rig control. You might be interested to know that a good part of the Windows program DM780 (part of Ham Radio Deluxe) is based on code developed for fldigi. There is also a Windows version of fldigi.

One of the best logging program is CQRLog, and it can be integrated with fldigi.

You’ll also find programs to use with DX clusters, like xdx.

23:46 D-Star is supported by the D-RATS program.
26:13 Richard describes running Crunchbang Linux on his 12 year old Dell laptop, and uses it to run D-RATS.
29:40 Remote desktop capability is there, too.
31:33 In summary, give Linux a try. You don’t necessarily have to use it for everything, but you will likely find it’s easy to use and provides a lot of software “out of the box”. Linux Mint is a good choice for the new user.

If you do try it, let us know how it worked for you. And check out the Linux in the Ham Shack podcast.

35:45 Conclusion Check out the website, make a donation to the podcast, and click the Amazon link for your purchases. Send your feedback!

Email Richard at kb5jbv@gmail.com
Twitter: twitter.com/kb5jbv
Identica: http://identi.ca/kb5jbv
Friendfeed: http://friendfeed.com/kb5jbv
KB5JBV on D-Star via the NT5RN repeater.
Fan pages at Facebook for Resonant Frequency and Linux in the Ham Shack.

37:43 Song “Total Breakdown” by Brad Sucks, from the album “Out if It”.
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Jan 30 2011

So that’s you best argument against D-Star?

I like D-Star. I have found it very useful for some of my amateur radio work. The biggest argument I hear about D-Star is that it is proprietary. The codec is locked down so nobody can use it. The chips can’t be obtained. The radios cant be worked on and they are over priced.

I Find this hilarious. Let us stop for a moment and consider these arguments. The majority of amateur radio operators use Windows or Mac. The cellphones they carry run Windows or a software specific to their device. Their router, TV, and printer all run on proprietary software. The media player you listen to our podcast on is most probably an Ipod or a Zune. they use proprietary software.

The programs you run and files you use are not free of this issue. By definition:

“Proprietary software is computer software licensed under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. The licensee is given the right to use the software under certain conditions, but restricted from other uses, such as modification, further distribution, or reverse engineering.”

So things like MP3 files, Itunes, Ham Radio Deluxe, and a whole lot more are proprietary. If you are using a cell phone that uses anything other than Android it is running proprietary software. Look at the EULA and / or the license on any piece of software you use. If it doesn’t use one of a free licenses like the GPL or there are restriction on its use it is proprietary. Part of the argument is that the D-Star Hardware is proprietary. Well, by definition no. But up until the 1980′s computers were proprietary. Proprietary has never really stopped us amateur radio operators from using something. The best example I can think of is Pactor. Pactor came along in the 1990′s. The manufacturers of all mode TNC’s were trying to get it into their equipment as quickly as possible. There were folks out there trying to write software to run Pactor on soundcards and Pactor was the new fantastic digital mode for HF. Well Pactor was good but lets make it better. Pactor II was developed and the developer immediately locked down the code. Then they improved it again. Enter Pactor III. It was also locked down. Now the only place you can get a Pactor II or III is a company in Germany and the least expensive modem is around a thousand dollars U. S. Hams love proprietary. That is why the Winlink 2000 system has an HF backbone that runs on the STS PTC proprietary modem.

So when the best argument against D-Star is that it is proprietary I giggle like a school girl. If that is your issue run one of the free and open operating systems on your Mac or PC. Run Rockbox on your Ipod or Zune. Get an Android phone. Load some open source software on your router or game console. Until then proprietary is not an issue for you.

Price would be a better argument but everything is more expensive when it is introduced. The price comes down with time. Look at Blu-Ray. When I was a teenager a videotape of a movie was a hundred dollars. When PC’s were introduced you couldn’t touch one with an 8088 processor for less than a thousand. So the price argument won’t work either. If you can’t afford it just say that you don’t have D-Star because you can’t afford it. I don’t have a Pactor modem because I can’t afford it.

Fear is the more likely argument. People were afraid of SSB on HF. They were afraid of FM on VHF. Some were afraid of Morse code so they wouldn’t get their license. Fear. It is natural to be afraid of new things. You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t. My father is afraid of new things. That is why most of the things he does on his computer take him all day when I can have them done quickly with little fuss. He runs Windows on his machines. I run Linux on mine. It takes him 10 minutes to boot his machine. It takes me 45 seconds to boot mine. The only reason he hasn’t switch is because he is afraid of new things. Not because he can’t do what he needs to do in Linux. So if your afraid of D-Star that’s OK but don’t use proprietary as an excuse.

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Jan 29 2011

RFC Show Notes Episode 048

00:08 Opening Theme “Hand-Picked” by John Williams, from the album “Long Ride Home”
01:02 Introduction Back in the studio for an all-feedback episode.
01:50 Announcements GoDaddy has been added to the website as a sponsor. Check out the new Resonant Frequency website and click the GoDaddy link there for your web hosting needs.

Remember, too, the Amazon link on our website, which also helps out the podcast. The most direct way to help, of course, is to click the Donate link on the website. Thanks!

New on the website is a brief video introduction to Ubuntu Linux for amateur radio operators.

The new url for the website is http://rfpodcast.info/Podcast. The original domain, rfpodcast.info, will work, but takes a few seconds to redirect.

Keep your eye on the website as new content, and more episodes, will be added soon. Leave us some feedback, too!

If you’d like to add some content to the Resonant Frequency, you’re welcome to do so. You can leave comments on the website, submit articles, or record audio segments and send them in!

10:12 Song “Blues for Boo Boo” by Kirk Fletcher from the album “Shades of Blue”
13:40 Feedback An all feedback episode this time, so we’ll get caught up.
14:26 B.B., KC5PIY, is getting caught up on the podcasts and comments on the Armadillo Intertie and Intertie, Inc. He says anyone can use the system, but only members can be control operators of the repeaters. At least, that’s the way it works on Intertie, Inc.
16:50 Rich, KD0BJT, from the Low SWR podcast, says he’s had to rename a file to get gpodder to transfer episodes to his MP3 player. Thanks, Rich. The problem should be fixed and the feeds are working at the website, iTunes and Podcast Alley. Note that the FeedBurner feed will be going away soon, so please use one of the other feeds.
19:06 Don, N7IGK, says he only operates CW, and finds CW operators are nicer than many. He also wonders why the podcast disappeared from iTunes. Thanks, Don. The problem iTunes occurred when the website was changed to a different content management system (Drupal), but we’re now back to WordPress and the iTunes problem was fixed. If you’re still having problems with iTunes, unsubscribe from the old feed, and subscribe to the new one that lists all the episodes.
23:07 James, WL7FC/VE3ELI, made a donation to the podcast, as did Paul, KE5WMA. Thank you both!
24:33 Paul, KE5WMA, also left a comment on the website that he was listening to Episode 46 where Richard discusses the term “riffraff”. As a no-code Extra, he appreciated the comments, and now is interested in learning the code to operate QRP. Paul also thinks that dropping the code requirement makes the hobby more accessible to the hearing-impaired. Richard discusses.
30:11 Song “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love” by Los Lonely Boys, from the album “Live At Blue Cat Blues – Dallas, Texas”
33:57 Donation from Woody, KF4TQJ, made a donation back in October, and also expressed his appreciation for the podcast. Thanks, Woody!
34:12 Don, WS4E, suggests a future episode of Resonant Frequency might discuss the value of a paper log book as opposed to a computer logging program. Good idea, Don! Many hams do both.
38:59 James, N2ENN, agrees that repeater activity seems to have declined over the years. James also expresses his dismay over the proprietary and closed nature of D-Star. Richard reminds us of the proprietary nature of the higher speed PACTOR protocols, PACTOR-II and PACTOR-III, produced by the German company, SCS. James says the audio quality of the mobile episodes is very good!
47:41 Ian, AK4IK, tells us of the North Fulton Amateur Radio League, named Club of the Year at Dayton Hamvention 2010. He just listened to Episode 44, and lists some of the things the club does to keep them successful: meetings are about the programs, rather than business. Business meetings are held separately. In addition to meetings, they have monthly club activities, regular youth nets, technical nets, a formal Elmering program, licensing exam preparation classes, quarterly VE test sessions, Field Day activities, an ARES group, and more. Very impressive, Ian!
1:01:48 Don, WS4E, says his local agency thought there were twice as many people available because they counted ARES and RACES members separately, when in fact, the majority of members were in both groups. If one group was activiated, there would be few to respond in the other.
1:04:14 Ray, KO4RB, is glad RF is back and looks forward to future episodes. Thanks, Ray.
1:05:13 Conclusion Email Richard at kb5jbv@gmail.com
Twitter: twitter.com/kb5jbv
Identica: http://identi.ca/kb5jbv
Friendfeed: http://friendfeed.com/kb5jbv
KB5JBV on D-Star via the NT5RN repeater.
Fan pages at Facebook for Resonant Frequency and Linux in the Ham Shack.
1:05:13 Song “We Got to Meet Death One Day” by Kelly Joe Phelps, from the album “Lead Me On (15 Year Anniversary Edition)”
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